Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl

9780062342515Paige Rawl is HIV positive, but other than that she is a normal middle school girl — a happy-go-lucky A-student with a healthy circle of friends. However, everything starts to change when she confesses her secret to her best friend. Suddenly, the whole school seems to know, and they won’t let Paige forget it. Soon, her so-called friends turn their backs and shout “PAIDS” when she passes by, regardless of the fact that she has HIV, not AIDS. With the relentless bullying from her classmates and the silence she faces from adults at school, Paige finds herself desperately swallowing sleeping pills in an attempt to escape from her life. In this heart wrenching, inspiring memoir, Paige recounts her story of how she hit rock bottom — and still managed to find hope even in the darkest situations.’

Paige narrates with a clear straightforward voice that doesn’t sugarcoat the bullying she endures but also doesn’t ask for pity. It’s eye-opening to read how the smallest comment can push a person over the edge. Even those who have not been bullied before can find solace in POSITIVE and relate to the themes of adolescence — the search for an identity, friendship turbulence and entering the adult world. POSITIVE also breaks down the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.

POSITIVE is the type of book that compels readers to do something. It ignites a compassion-fueled, indignant spark to reach out to those who are hurting. Paige’s life has deeply touched my own, and she has become one of my real-life inspirations in the way that she lets go of the past and makes a difference by sharing her story.

Reviewed by Cassandra H., Teen Board Member

First Published @ Teenreads.com

 

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About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation . https://twitter.com/Cassandra_Hsiao

Posted on September 2, 2014, in Books Review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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